When the festive season draws closer, my mind always wanders and dreams of other places, so I’ve narrowed the list to the 9 best cities to celebrate the holidays in! Of course we don’t all get to travel around the world at this wonderful time of year, but keep in mind that the city you’re in right now could be someone else’s dream holiday destination. So whether you’re dreaming of NYC or Morocco in December, here are the 9 best cities to celebrate the holidays in.
1. New York City, New York, USA
Hands down, one of the best cities to celebrate the holidays in is the famed New York City. It doesn’t matter what holiday you’re celebrating around this time of year, NYC has something for everyone! From skating in Central Park, to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, New York is a city that transforms itself into Christmas. Every store you enter, every corner you turn, even every window display you walk by, shows New Yorkers know that the Big Apple is one of the best cities to celebrate the holidays in.
2. Santa Claus Village, Finland
This place sounds so magical it’s hard to imagine that it actually exists! They consider themselves to be the Christmas capital of the world, and why shouldn’t they? It’s almost at the most northern point of the arctic circle (which is way, way up North on the map), Santa Claus’s Post Office is there, so is his actual office, and there are even a whole slew of Christmas-y restaurants there. If Santa’s own village-come-to-life isn’t one of the best cities to celebrate the holidays in, I’m not quite sure where else is!
3. Whistler, British Columbia, Canada
If you get excited around the holidays because of the winter sports, you’ll love Whistler. People come from far and wide to visit what is arguably the best place in Canada to bring out your inner snow bunny! Not only is it incredibly festive, you can go tubing, snowmobiling, night skiing, and you can even go dog sledding, all on Christmas Day if you want! Then after several runs down the slopes, you can relax in a lodge or a chalet with some hot chocolate and look out to see snowy mountains in the distance. Heaven. Seriously one of the best cities to celebrate the holidays in!
4. Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia
I live in Toronto, and you can imagine it can get pretty cold here. There’s not much else that would convince me that Sydney is one of the best cities to celebrate the holidays in and its famed Bondi Beach, a magical location. Locals and visitors alike all gather around Bondi Beach leading up to Christmas and New Years and plant fake trees in the sand, chill out with pizza, go surfing at midnight to ring in the New Year, and drink red and white wine to add to the festivities. Oh, then there’s also fireworks you can watch either from your surfboard or the beach – how amazing is that?
5. Tokyo, Japan
Here’s the thing. Tokyo on a regular day seems insane. Now imagine all the lights and hype on complete overdrive in December. It’s like some crazy, amazing, once in a lifetime experience to be there over the holidays! This city loves New Year's, and with celebrations of super yummy food (they gave us sushi so I forever trust their food choices), light shows that would probably rival Disneyworld, and hotel rooms across the city with Christmas themed décor, Tokyo has to be one of the best cities to celebrate the holidays in!
6. Colonge, Germany
One thing Colonge is famous for around Christmas time is its Christmas Markets. There are 6 different Christmas Markets here that make you feel like you’re walking through one of those classic Christmas paintings you see on boxes of chocolate around the holiday season. So exquisitely charming, even the air smells festive with gingerbread, roasted hot chestnuts and delicious German sausages. Plus it is incredibly romantic, which makes it one of the best cities to celebrate the holidays in.
7. London, England
London baby! Aside from being the hub of England, going to London for the holidays means crossing off so many things from your bucket list. Want to see amazing fireworks by the river? Check. Go to a New Year’s Day Parade? Check. Celebrate Christmas in the same country as the Royal Family? Check! Let’s just put it this way, a friend of mine lived in London for 3 years and told me that Christmas there is every bit as magical as how we feel when watching Love Actually, and that’s all the reasoning I need to know that London has to be one of the best cities to celebrate the holidays in.
8. San Juan, Puerto Rico
First, let me just say these guys should teach the rest of the world how they celebrate during their holidays! From November to January, this city is all about the celebrations, and that alone is enough to make this place one of the best cities to celebrate the holidays in. Christmas carols, fireworks, lights brightening up the streets, the holiday cheer, you’ll feel like you stepped into the never-ending holiday world here. The build up to Christmas and New Year’s is so fun and intense; you’ll never want to leave! Plus, San Juan is warm and just sounds cool; of course it would make the list!
9. Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
It shouldn’t be a surprise that Vegas would round out the list of the 9 best cities to celebrate the holidays in. No other city parties as hard as Vegas, and that means that there are few places that would put on as amazing a spectacle and performance as this city. In the Bellagio, the fountains dance to Christmas carols, there’s a botanical garden with a 49 foot Christmas tree, you can go skating on the world's only floating ice rink, and be among the 3 million plus visitors that flock to Vegas around December every year.
The holidays are all about getting together with your friends and family and having fun. It’s a time for you to relax and celebrate all that you’ve accomplished throughout the year. Every place in the world celebrates the holidays with their own spin, and if you’re lucky enough you may be able to experience the holidays in a whole new way you’ve never thought of! So do tell, what is your favourite city to celebrate the holidays in?